The horror community was delivered a great blow earlier this year after Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dunes announced the cancellation of Friday the 13th Part 13. Planned for release this Friday the 13th, the bad news came just before production was set to begin. Supposedly, the decision came after the box office results of Rings (2017) but fans still hope the success of Friday The 13th The Game may help revive the project. Attached to the ill-fated project was screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, Contraband), but there was another script circulating two years earlier that from Channel Zero creator and Hannibal writer, Nick Antosca. Shortly after the film was axed, Antosca tweeted that the script had found it’s way online.
Drilling straight for the mainline, he strikes gold in his re-imagining of what a Friday The 13th film could be after almost 40 years of terrorizing teens at Camp Crystal Lake. Avoiding any attempts to expand or explain Jason’s origin, Antosca’s Friday The 13th: 3-D, throws fans back into the 80’s with a picture-perfect slasher that feels as at home in the era as it does in the genre. The script contains more direction and camera movement than your average screenplay, but only in service of explaining the mood and look of the film he is narrating. Antosca’s voice is that of a life-long horror fan (like yourself) who was given the opportunity of a lifetime, and wanted nothing more than to write the best Friday the 13th possible. I’m of the opinion that this might have been one of the strongest installments in the franchise, and I was completely on board at Page 1.
Opening on a gorgeous sunny day, the last day of summer camp 1988, as our counselors narrowly save a young boy from drowning before partying the night away. Naturally, there is some sexual tension, mild drug use, and a foreboding tale of a murder-most-foul. Lead by Frank (the groundskeeper) the counselors head across the lake to take a quick look the creepy, abandoned campground of the original Camp Crystal Lake. And in a foolish display of teenage rebellion, Greg (our smart, immature jock) curses Pamela Voorhees at the top of his lungs- loud enough for anything (or anyone) in the woods to hear him…
Desperate for a little alone time, the couples decide to split-up to get a better look of the camp. Greg finds a familiar hockey mask, Frank stares into the woods, and Sloane takes a bracelet she finds buried in the dust. When they regroup, Frank is gone *gasp* and the second canoe is nowhere to be seen. Rather than make two trips for everyone to arrive safely, Dylan and Vanessa opt to walk back through the woods. BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO FRANK??!? After a quick delay in a gazebo to “stay out of the rain” we follow Dylan and Vanessa separately after they split-up on their way home. Taunting us with both as potential victims, we cut back and forth between the two, unsure of who is about to come face-to-face with certain death. SPOILER ALERT! It’s Dylan. Bye-bye Dylan.
The next morning, back at camp, the counselors are waking up in various stages of undress, getting ready to face the day. Vanessa spots a figure watching her as she showers but she and Kevin hit a dead end following the muddy boot prints that lead away from the showers. Getting on with their counselor duties, the group puts on a quick show for the parents arriving to collect their kids, and begin the process of closing up the camp for the season. The counselors head into town for supplies, and to report Vanessa’s forest-dwelling stalker to Sheriff John. Of course, he’s no help but they do meet a nice, but possibly crazy, older woman with one arm that knows all about “Lunch-Lady Pam”
Back at the camp, Head Counselor Ian Duckworth and Nurse Nicole are smoking weed as they play a few rounds of Strip Go-Fish. On his way back from pinching some of Weezer’s secret stash, Duckworth comes upon a hulking figure peering through Nurse Nicole’s window. Duckworth tries to shoo him away with the first thing at arm’s reach, only to find himself at the business end of his own shovel while The Talking Head’s “Sax & Violins” plays overtop.
When the troop returns to camp they get to work building a campfire, unfazed by Duckworth’s absence. Vanessa doesn’t feel safe staying that the camp but no one is that interested in leaving just yet, so the boys raid the sports shed for anything closely resembling a weapon. To Vanessa’s dismay, Dylan never shows up to say goodbye. The night progresses as last nights at summer camp always do, and we watch the group from someone’s POV (Point of View) as they counselors let off steam. Weezer heads out to the water slide for one last bowl as everyone crawls toward bed, for a variety of reasons. As the sun rises on a new day, we see that Weezer has spent the entire night smoking dope before heading into the water for an early morning dip.
Kevin and Sloane wake up in each others arms and Sloane tells Kevin about the nightmare she had during the night. She dreamed it was raining, only the rain turned to blood covering the entire camp. And then…he appeared. The boy that drowned years ago. They split up to get ready for breakfast but Kevin soon calls everyone out of their cabins when he discovers Weezer’s body by the shoreline. Everyone immediately heads for the truck only to realize Brad and Amber are across the camp taking down the archery range. Shit! Just as they are planning the fastest, safest way to collect Brad and Amber, Kirby asks a very unsettling question: Why is there a goalie over there?
Cutting between the group fighting for their lives, Amber & Brad’s emotional break-up, and Nurse Nicole sound asleep, the camp is chaotic. Scattered, looking for keys and clinging to life, the group looks on in horror as Brad and Amber make their way back to camp, unaware of what awaits them. They narrowly escape, thanks to Nurse Nicole’s blind charge into the mess hall expecting breakfast, finding only swift and certain death. After collecting the keys from Greg’s body, they crash the car trying to run Jason over on their way out. Amber is picked from inside the car as though she were at the bottom of jar of olives. Jason crushes her head with his bare hands, and the rest of team run back to the camp looking for safety.
After a brief tussle with Brad and an axe, Jason staggers back into the woods. Expecting him back any minute, Brad, Vanessa, and Sloane try to coax Kirby back from the floating dock she’s been hiding on because, ya know, no man left behind and whatnot. But Jason returns- and he’s got a pretty good idea the girl he’d hoped had drowned in the lake is hiding somewhere. Kirby looks on in horror as Jason walks deeper and deeper into the lake until only a single trail of bubbles disappears under the dock. Kirby musters up the courage to dive off, and tries to swim for shore….tries.
The remaining counselors (Brad, Sloane, Vanessa) have no choice. They have to walk through the woods, past the old Camp Crystal Lake, to get to the main road and escape. No sooner do they make it onto the old grounds does Jason come barreling through the woods after them. In a hurried race for their lives, they happen upon an old, unkempt house. Linda King (the one-armed local) answers the door and ushers them inside to call 911. Hooray! While Vanessa screams into the phone, Linda can’t help but notice the bracelet Sloane is wearing. Where did you get that? she asks, but before she can answer, Jason has broken into the house!
Brad is tired of running, and the police are still on their way. The three grab everything they can to fight this unknown force of nature stalking them but nothing phases him. Brad plunges his axe deep into Jason’s back but it barely slows him down. Linda tries to shoot him point-bank with a shotgun only to be beaten with her own prosthetic arm. They hit and stab and shoot Jason with everything they have and gradually, he weakens.
The police and paramedics arrive soon after. Vanessa, Brad, and Sloane are swept away for assessment while the police walk around the crime scene. Coroners are lifting Jason’s body into the morgue van as Sloane tries to make sense of the crazed massacre. The police assure them that their attacker is most certainly dead as the morgue van pulls away in the background. The police think the Voorhees boy is tall-tale, nothing more than a spooky story, but Sloane knows in her bones that the nameless killer stalking them is none other than…
In broad daylight, Jason hacks his way through dozens of police officers, innocents standers-by, and tragically, Brad. Unfortunately his skull was no match for Jason’s new bone-saw, but his death does give Sloane and Vanessa time to duck away. Sloane traps herself in the backseat of a police cruiser, but when Vanessa attempts to free her Jason sneaks up behind her, bashing her skull against the roof. Sloane is ripped from the car, helpless and defenseless, but a thought occurs to her as she stands before this towering giant.
Jason is grotesque, baby-like and full of blood thirsty rage. but just before he can squeeze the life out of her, BAM! BAM! Vanessa appears with a shotgun to save the day. Our Final Girls both know he’s only down temporary and waste no time hijacking a squad car to ride off into the sunset away from this nightmare.